Arizona Horseman's Challenge

ARIZONA HORSEMAN’S CHALLENGE

& EXPO

May 11, 12, and 13, 2018

 2017 All Rights Reserved Arizona Horseman’s Challenge & Expo
The Arizona Horseman’s Challenge & Expo caught up with our champions from the last five years for a Q & A session. 2018 will be the Challenge of the Champions, the winners of the last five years going head to head for the ultimate title. Read on to see where they are now!
Lanny Leach 2013 Az. Horseman’s Challenge Champion 1)    Why did you want to compete in the AZHC? I have been training since I was 12 years old.  Each year from that time and up to today, I always want to learn and improve myself as a trainer.  Competing gave me another opportunity to see what my skills could accomplish in a very short time. 2)  What was the most important thing you learned doing the Challenge? Taking part in a colt starting competition is not the same as actually starting a colt in the "real world". Due to the short amount of time given, the foundation is limited to what a trainer can get done to get to the next segment of the competition.   The new owners of these horses still need to start at the basics after the competition and take more time with each step of the basic foundation before moving on.
3)     Did winning the AZHC change the way you approach training? I have a basic foundation training program that I use on every breed of horse.  Winning the challenge gave me validation that the techniques I use can achieve goals in a short or long term situation while training.
4)    Who is the biggest influence on your training? My Dad was my biggest influence in getting me started riding at the age of 2 and training horses as I got older. He put me on "good broke" horses. Now I have the opportunity to train with my son, Logan.  We have a mutual respect for each other, keeping each other accountable in how we train.  It's been a blessing to watch him develop his skills as a trainer. I am proud to work with him each day as I can help him and he helps me as we become better together.
5)     Where are you now? My wife Kathy and I moved back home 2 yrs ago to Ainsworth, Nebraska to be closer to our family.  My son Logan and I have a training facility, Leach Horse Training, located 1 1/2 miles west of Ainsworth. Thomas Clover 2014 Az. Horseman’s Challenge Champion 1)    Why did you want to compete in the AZHC? I competed in the Az. Horseman’s Challenge because it sounded like a great experience and opportunity to meet a broad community of trainers and horsemen, learn from them and compete with them.  I also felt like it was honor to be selected to participate because there are many good trainers throughout Arizona. 2)  What was the most important thing you learned doing the Challenge? The most important thing I learned from competing in the challenge the first time is that these competitions can be very educational to both the people watching and the competitors in seeing new techniques and approaches.  It seems to be a good way to expose and spread quality horsemanship. 
3)     Did winning the AZHC change the way you approach training? Winning the Horseman Challenge did not change my approach to training at all.  In fact it re-affirmed that what I was doing was effective and on the right path.  I certainly took home some great techniques and ideas but my overall approach is the same.
4)    Who is the biggest influence on your training? That is a very difficult question to answer because I have had a few different great mentors, many of which influenced me at different stages and helped develop my horsemanship in different ways.  This makes them difficult to compare.  But, if I had to say who has influenced my journey as horseman and trainer the most, it would certainly be my father.  Not only did he start this lifelong journey but I learned a general way of handling, thinking about, and working with horses that has stuck with me and been the back bone of what I do now.
5)     Where are you now? I am currently living in Star Idaho.  I work for Jeremy Meador Performance Horses as an assistant trainer.  I am pursuing a career in the reined cow horse industry.  Part time I also work with the babies and yearlings for breeder Redtail Ranch. Samantha Jepson 2015 Az. Horseman’s Challenge Champion 1)     Why did you want to compete in the AZHC?  I grew up watching trainers doing Road to the Horse, mustang make-overs, and those types of events. Getting the opportunity to do that myself is a childhood dream come true!  I also love how the founders of this competition have designed it to encourage trainers to showcase their skills and techniques, it is an incredible amount of fun to compete in, watch and judge! 2)     What was the most important thing you learned doing the Challenge?  I really learned to have confidence in what I am doing; the techniques I used on my filly here are exactly what I use at home on the horses that come in to be started.  The validation of having a group of accomplished horsemen place me was an amazing experience. 3)     Did winning the AZHC change the way you approach training?  It didn't change how I train per say, although through the event I have learned so much about the industry, event organization and I have greatly appreciated the networking opportunities! 4)    Who is the biggest influence on your training?  Oh, I have been so fortunate to have met and worked with so many amazing horse hands over the years! To be honest at this point my two biggest influences are the horse at hand and the client who is continuing with them. They dictate a lot of the training that happens, and ensuring both are having their goals met so they can be successful together! 5)     Where are you now?   I am now working on more showing, improving my riding, and expanding my training program. The barn now has multiple assistant trainers, an active work student program, and a show team. I am loving the variety with the showing, we have horses and students showing in ranch riding, roping, barrels, dressage, hunters, jumpers, eventing and working equitation! I am thrilled to be working with talented, bold horses and riders! JJ Anderson 2016 Az. Horseman’s Challenge Champion 1)    Why did you want to compete in the AZHC?  I wanted to share my knowledge with the public, demonstrate my technique, and I’ve always wanted to compete in a colt starting competition what better place to do it than my home state. 2)     What is the most important thing you learned doing the Challenge? I learned to trust in my abilities, regardless of time constraints or situation 3)    Did winning the AZHC change the way you approach training?  I don’t think it changed my approach. I feel like it’s a steady journey of bettering your abilities. Winning the competition proved that for me. 4)    Who is the biggest influence on your training?  I gravitate towards Guy Mcclean, Ray Hunt, Lanny Leach, among many others when working horses myself. I feel as though you can learn something from anyone. 5) Where are you now?  I am now a Wild Horse Specialist at ASPC which is an Arizona state prison complex located in Florence, AZ helping inmates train mustangs for the BLM.  I have grown a lot from this position and have learned many things about horse training and what it can do for people not just the horses. Travis Lyons 2017 Az. Horseman’s Challenge Champion   1)    Why did you want to compete in the AZHC?  I think we all question where we are as trainers and would like to put our skills to the test. It is easy to train even the rankest of horses from the other side of the fence. 2)    What is the most important thing you learned doing the Challenge?  Competing in front of a crowd, working with “untouched or wild horses”, while being judged can change the way you might do things in your back yard.  I want things to look and go as smooth and rhythmic as possible from start to finish.  At the same time I want to be direct and matter of fact with any horse I work with.   3)    Did winning the AZHC change the way you approach training? Winning the challenge is a nice accomplishment. However, that was the outcome with the horses selected that year and the trainers I was competing against in front of those judges. I am always chasing a better me in all aspects of life.  In this case we are talking about training horses or being a winner for a year. I like to look at accomplishments as milestones. I am pleased but never satisfied. I feel that keeps the fire lit and something to work towards. 4)    Who is the biggest influence on your training?  I do not have any one person to credit my approach at training.  I have picked up and applied things over the years from just about everyone who I have crossed paths with that spend endless amounts of time trying to perfect the same passion. There are things that I like or don’t like about every person who handles a horse, things that I have used or that I have yet to, and things that have or have not worked for me or things that I have yet to try. My biggest influence is the next guy I see sitting on a nice horse doing something that seems flawless with the biggest effort that horse has to give. 5)    Where are you now?  I am at a place now where I prefer starting colts. I like seeing improvement daily. I like the idea of a “blank canvas” for a lack of a better term.  In my opinion there are less road blocks and detours on your way to your destination. By that, I mean having to fix un-train and retrain horses that have been misled usually because of the owners/trainers confidence and or ability to work with them or simply just getting away with being disrespectful. Let’s face it, being disrespected can make most of us grumpy, and that is usually why those horses come to you. I would much rather make and ride good horses than always have to straighten out a mess over and over. Sure those horses and owners need help and I find myself doing just that from time to time. Given the choice I would prefer starting a horse that has not previously had one, and taking him to where he is considered broke or even further.

Arizona Horseman's Challenge

Arizona Horseman’s Challenge & Expo

May 11, 12, and 13, 2018

 2017 All Rights Reserved Arizona Horseman’s Challenge & Expo
The Arizona Horseman’s Challenge & Expo caught up with our champions from the last five years for a Q & A session. 2018 will be the Challenge of the Champions, the winners of the last five years going head to head for the ultimate title. Read on to see where they are now!
Lanny Leach 2013 Az. Horseman’s Challenge Champion 1)    Why did you want to compete in the AZHC? I have been training since I was 12 years old.  Each year from that time and up to today, I always want to learn and improve myself as a trainer.  Competing gave me another opportunity to see what my skills could accomplish in a very short time. 2)  What was the most important thing you learned doing the
Challenge? Taking part in a colt starting competition is not the same as actually starting a colt in the "real world". Due to the short amount of time given, the foundation is limited to what a trainer can get done to get to the next segment of the competition.   The new owners of these horses still need to start at the basics after the competition and take more time with each step of the basic foundation before moving on.
3)     Did winning the AZHC change the way you approach training? I have a basic foundation training program that I use on every breed of horse.  Winning the challenge gave me validation that the techniques I use can achieve goals in a short or long term situation while training.
4)    Who is the biggest influence on your training? My Dad was my biggest influence in getting me started riding at the age of 2 and training horses as I got older. He put me on "good broke" horses. Now I have the opportunity to train with my son, Logan.  We have a mutual respect for each other, keeping each other accountable in how we train.  It's been a blessing to watch him develop his skills as a trainer. I am proud to work with him each day as I can help him and he helps me as we become better together.
5)     Where are you now? My wife Kathy and I moved back home 2 yrs ago to Ainsworth, Nebraska to be closer to our family.  My son Logan and I have a training facility, Leach Horse Training, located 1 1/2 miles west of Ainsworth. Thomas Clover 2014 Az. Horseman’s Challenge Champion 1)    Why did you want to compete in the AZHC? I competed in the Az. Horseman’s Challenge because it sounded like a great experience and opportunity to meet a broad community of trainers and horsemen, learn from them and compete with them.  I also felt like it was honor to be selected to participate because there are many good trainers throughout Arizona. 2)  What was the most important thing you learned doing the
Challenge? The most important thing I learned from competing in the challenge the first time is that these competitions can be very educational to both the people watching and the competitors in seeing new techniques and approaches.  It seems to be a good way to expose and spread quality horsemanship. 
3)     Did winning the AZHC change the way you approach training? Winning the Horseman Challenge did not change my approach to training at all.  In fact it re-affirmed that what I was doing was effective and on the right path.  I certainly took home some great techniques and ideas but my overall approach is the same.
4)    Who is the biggest influence on your training? That is a very difficult question to answer because I have had a few different great mentors, many of which influenced me at different stages and helped develop my horsemanship in different ways.  This makes them difficult to compare.  But, if I had to say who has influenced my journey as horseman and trainer the most, it would certainly be my father.  Not only did he start this lifelong journey but I learned a general way of handling, thinking about, and working with horses that has stuck with me and been the back bone of what I do now.
5)     Where are you now? I am currently living in Star Idaho.  I work for Jeremy Meador Performance Horses as an assistant trainer.  I am pursuing a career in the reined cow horse industry.  Part time I also work with the babies and yearlings for breeder Redtail Ranch. Samantha Jepson 2015 Az. Horseman’s Challenge Champion 1)     Why did you want to compete in the AZHC?  I grew up watching trainers doing Road to the Horse, mustang make-overs, and those types of events. Getting the opportunity to do that myself is a childhood dream come true!  I also love how the founders of this competition have designed it to encourage trainers to showcase their skills and techniques, it is an incredible amount of fun to compete in, watch and judge! 2)     What was the most important thing you learned doing the Challenge?  I really learned to have confidence in what I am doing; the techniques I used on my filly here are exactly what I use at home on the horses that come in to be started.  The validation of having a group of accomplished horsemen place me was an amazing experience. 3)     Did winning the AZHC change the way you approach training?  It didn't change how I train per say, although through the event I have learned so much about the industry, event organization and I have greatly appreciated the networking opportunities! 4)    Who is the biggest influence on your training?  Oh, I have been so fortunate to have met and worked with so many amazing horse hands over the years! To be honest at this point my two biggest influences are the horse at hand and the client who is continuing with them. They dictate a lot of the training that happens, and ensuring both are having their goals met so they can be successful together! 5)     Where are you now?   I am now working on more showing, improving my riding, and expanding my training program. The barn now has multiple assistant trainers, an active work student program, and a show team. I am loving the variety with the showing, we have horses and students showing in ranch riding, roping, barrels, dressage, hunters, jumpers, eventing and working equitation! I am thrilled to be working with talented, bold horses and riders! JJ Anderson 2016 Az. Horseman’s Challenge Champion 1)    Why did you want to compete in the AZHC?  I wanted to share my knowledge with the public, demonstrate my technique, and I’ve always wanted to compete in a colt starting competition what better place to do it than my home state. 2)     What is the most important thing you learned doing the Challenge? I learned to trust in my abilities, regardless of time constraints or situation 3)    Did winning the AZHC change the way you approach training?  I don’t think it changed my approach. I feel like it’s a steady journey of bettering your abilities. Winning the competition proved that for me. 4)    Who is the biggest influence on your training?  I gravitate towards Guy Mcclean, Ray Hunt, Lanny Leach, among many others when working horses myself. I feel as though you can learn something from anyone. 5) Where are you now?  I am now a Wild Horse Specialist at ASPC which is an Arizona state prison complex located in Florence, AZ helping inmates train mustangs for the BLM.  I have grown a lot from this position and have learned many things about horse training and what it can do for people not just the horses. Travis Lyons 2017 Az. Horseman’s Challenge Champion   1)    Why did you want to compete in the AZHC?  I think we all question where we are as trainers and would like to put our skills to the test. It is easy to train even the rankest of horses from the other side of the fence. 2)    What is the most important thing you learned doing the Challenge?  Competing in front of a crowd, working with “untouched or wild horses”, while being judged can change the way you might do things in your back yard.  I want things to look and go as smooth and rhythmic as possible from start to finish.  At the same time I want to be direct and matter of fact with any horse I work with.   3)    Did winning the AZHC change the way you approach training? Winning the challenge is a nice accomplishment. However, that was the outcome with the horses selected that year and the trainers I was competing against in front of those judges. I am always chasing a better me in all aspects of life.  In this case we are talking about training horses or being a winner for a year. I like to look at accomplishments as milestones. I am pleased but never satisfied. I feel that keeps the fire lit and something to work towards. 4)    Who is the biggest influence on your training?  I do not have any one person to credit my approach at training.  I have picked up and applied things over the years from just about everyone who I have crossed paths with that spend endless amounts of time trying to perfect the same passion. There are things that I like or don’t like about every person who handles a horse, things that I have used or that I have yet to, and things that have or have not worked for me or things that I have yet to try. My biggest influence is the next guy I see sitting on a nice horse doing something that seems flawless with the biggest effort that horse has to give. 5)    Where are you now?  I am at a place now where I prefer starting colts. I like seeing improvement daily. I like the idea of a “blank canvas” for a lack of a better term.  In my opinion there are less road blocks and detours on your way to your destination. By that, I mean having to fix un-train and retrain horses that have been misled usually because of the owners/trainers confidence and or ability to work with them or simply just getting away with being disrespectful. Let’s face it, being disrespected can make most of us grumpy, and that is usually why those horses come to you. I would much rather make and ride good horses than always have to straighten out a mess over and over. Sure those horses and owners need help and I find myself doing just that from time to time. Given the choice I would prefer starting a horse that has not previously had one, and taking him to where he is considered broke or even further.